My Backup System

Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Blog, Technology | No Comments

My Backup System


I have invested some time and money in a peace of mind data backup system recently.


Losing all your stuff is a bit of a rite of passage for anyone that uses computers. Which is everyone.


The Nature of the Universe is that things are breaking down. Unless you are consciously putting energy into your backups, sure as the Sun, one day you will lose your digital work.


With that knowledge and the bitter experience of hard drive failure, here is my current system.


  • 1 computer
  • 10 years of photos from travels around the world, 100’s of projects
  • 1,000’s important files
  • 10,000’s of hours invested,
  • 100,000’s of words written &
  • 1,000,000’s of megabytes of stuff i’d miss.

I think the system has me covered.

The multiple copies secure drops, spills, run of the mill hardware failure and (less run of the mill) simultaneous hardware failure, The offsite storage is in case of my house being robbed and everything stolen or a catastrophic fire that even destroys the safe (rated for half an hour at a 1000 degrees).
As the probability of risk decreases, so does the frequency of the backup.


A lot of the data does not change from day to day so the time capsule is best used because of it’s in the background smart backup of only changed documents. It also has the ability to go “back in time” to recover individual files from accidental deletion.


The Time Capsule is managed by the built in OSX Time Machine and runs automatically on the hour when plugged in. It runs on the days the sun in shining.


I complement this with a program called Carbon Copy Cloner, and I have it scheduled to backup automatically. It pops up a message and I just need to get the drive out of the safe and plug it in. It incrementally updates and creates a bootable drive.
If my hard drive fails I just plug in the cloned drive and carry on as if nothing has happened. Not even 5 minutes of disruption, I can then get a replacement in my own time.


Backup System

Backup System




Backup Day is Friday. It’s also the day I get all the photos off my camera, rate them, put them on my ipad and write a little story about the week. Monthly backup day is the last Friday.

For backup’s to stay fresh the system needs very little friction. I put the time in researching the best practice & software.


I’m happy with the flow and now it is just part of my groove.

I’m confident that i’ve done the best I can to prepare for the inevitable. Perhaps there is some freak case where it all goes pear shaped like massive solar flare or a nuclear explosions electromagnetic pulse and all is lost, but there isn’t a great deal I can do about that. My data loss would be comparatively minor and I could probably reframe it as a lesson from God about non-attachment.

Shawn Blanc has a well written article on off-site backups too

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